State officials have ordered Corinthian Colleges Inc. to stop enrolling Minnesota students in the wake of an announcement that it will sell or close all its campuses, including the Everest Institute, a medical career school in Eagan.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education said Friday that it is also taking steps to ensure that the estimated 300 Minnesota students currently enrolled in Corinthian colleges will be allowed to finish their programs.
Corinthian, a for-profit company based in California, disclosed this week that it would be closing the Eagan school, which has about 200 students, as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education.
In all, the company — which has about 72,000 students in 26 states and Canada — agreed to close or sell its 107 campuses after federal officials raised concerns about its marketing claims and cracked down on its financial aid payments.
"We've stopped any enrollment in any of the institutions," said George Roedler, who heads licensing and registration at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. He noted that Corinthian's schools can continue to operate, but "because of the uncertainty of the situation right now … the safer course is to say, 'OK, let's not get anybody else involved.' "
The Everest Institute, the only Corinthian college in Minnesota, offers training programs for massage therapists, medical assistants, administrative assistants and pharmacy technicians, as well as a program in medical insurance coding and billing.
Roedler said that Corinthian officials have agreed to allow current students to complete their training programs or to transfer them to equivalent programs.
He said that all affected students "should have been notified" of the impending changes, under Corinthian's agreement with federal officials.
In June, the Department of Education cracked down on federal payments to Corinthian, which reportedly received about $1.4 billion in federal financial aid. The crackdown — which put a 21-day waiting period on the federal payments — apparently triggered a financial crisis at the company, Roedler said.
The federal government said it took the action after the company failed to "fully address" a number of concerns, including "faulty job placement data used in marketing claims," and allegations of altered grades and attendance.
In addition to Everest, Minnesota students were concentrated in three other Corinthian schools: Everest College in Phoenix, Everest University in Orlando and WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo.